Youth in the Meuse-Argonne: A Memoir, 1917-1918

William S. Triplet, Author, Robert H. Ferrell, Editor
William S. Triplet, Author, Robert H. Ferrell, Editor University of Missouri Press $39.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-8262-1290-0
Hardcover - 344 pages - 978-0-8262-6217-2
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At the age of 17, the author of this memoir left high school in a Missouri town to enlist in the National Guard for the Great War and found himself a sergeant of infantry in the 35th (Missouri-Kansas) Division during the closing months of hostilities in France. The 35th Division, also home to Harry Truman's artillery battery, was mauled in General Pershing's Meuse-Argonne offensive, the largest and most costly single battle in American military history (one million American troops engaged and 26,000 killed). With consistent humor and fine detail, Triplet recounts his experiences and characterizes his associates--from enlistment and training through service in several actions and the armistice. After the war, Triplet went on to West Point and served 30 years as a career regular army officer. The text of his memoir, which he apparently drafted using his extensive diaries and which continues past the period covered in this volume, was discovered two years ago at U.S. Military History Institute (after Triplet's death in 1994) by Ferrell, professor emeritus of history at Indiana University (Harry S. Truman; The Dying President: Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1944-1945; etc.). While not extraordinarily wrenching, it makes informative, absorbing and remarkably effortless reading, a ready window onto a different era and a singular wartime experience--one to be continued as further installments of the text appear in the coming months. Illus. not seen by PW. (Sept.)
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